The Cleveland Cavaliers are having a great season and have become one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. The Cavs made a huge trade in the offseason to acquire star Donovan Mitchell from the Utah Jazz.
Mitchell has solidified a core of four All-Star level players, along with Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen, and Evan Mobley. These are four locked-in starters in the rotation that make the Cavs a high-quality team. However, they could make a trade at the deadline to improve their depth. Caris LeVert anchors the bench as the 6th man and has been productive in that role. Kevin Love has also been a key contributor off the bench.
Cleveland has the talent to come out of the East. If they can add another contributor at the deadline, it could go a long way.
With that said, here is the biggest need the Cavs must address at the 2023 NBA trade deadline.
Cavs biggest need: Small Forward
It’s obvious that the Cavs’ biggest need is at the small forward position. They have elite guards and bigs but could use an upgrade at their forward spot. Currently, Isaac Okoro is starting in that spot. Okoro was selected by Cleveland with the 5th pick in the 2020 NBA draft. He is a good defender but has not been able to develop an offensive game in his three years in the league.
This season, the 21-year-old is averaging 5.3 points per game, shooting 45 percent from the field and 29.3 percent from three. While he can still contribute, especially on the defensive end, the Cavs could use an upgrade.
There are multiple targets that Cleveland could target for this role, including Tim Hardaway Jr., Saddiq Bey, Kelly Oubre, Bojan Bogdanovic, Jae Crowder, Eric Gordon, Gary Harris, Terrence Ross, and Jalen McDaniels.
It’s an extensive list, and the players range in their roles. The ideal targets off this list are Bey, Oubre, Bogdanovic, and McDaniels. Bey is a quality young player for the Detroit Pistons, but his name has been in trade rumors. The 23-year-old is averaging 14 points per game along with 4.1 rebounds, shooting 40.1 percent and 32.7 percent from three. If the Pistons are willing to move him, he would be a good addition to the Cavs.
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Bogdanovic is the more realistic Piston to be on the move. He has garnered interest around the league and could be a valuable player. Bogdanovic is in the midst of a career year, averaging 21.2 points while shooting 48.7 percent from the field and 42.2 percent from three. His shooting ability would complement the starting unit well, but they may not be willing to give up enough to compete with other contenders’ offers.
Oubre and McDaniels are two intriguing options from the Hornets. Charlotte is in last place in the East at 11-32 and could be sellers at the deadline. Oubre is in the last year of his deal, so it would make sense to move on from him, though his injury could complicate that. McDaniels is a younger player that could be an impactful player long-term, but he is also a free agent after the season. Both players could provide two-way play for the Cavs and fill their forward spot.
The remainder of the options are a tier down but could still provide depth. Hardaway Jr. is a 3&D wing from the Dallas Mavericks, but his big contract could keep Cleveland away from him. Jae Crowder remains on the Phoenix Suns as they try to find a trade partner, while Eric Gordon, Gary Harris, and Terrence Ross’s names continue to come up in rumors with no deal done.
It will be an interesting deadline for the Cavs as they look to improve their small forward position and be a contender in the Eastern Conference.